This is 40…and then some

I just got out of the bathroom, plucking another fistful of grey hairs.

Shut up, I know. They just grow back in an army of little silver spikes, intent on total scalp domination.

And yet I pluck. It’s what you do when you’re 43, which is what I am, as of today.

Back when I was young and beautiful...and apparently a boy.

Back when I was young and beautiful…and apparently a boy.

I now join the ranks of other 43-year-old women who haven’t exactly taken the world by storm – Shannen Doherty, Denise Richards, Debbie (now the more stately Deborah) Gibson.

Mind you, the 43-year-old guys are still ruling the school – Jon Hamm, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg (who has long since left Marky Mark and his Calvins behind).

But the 43-year-old women…hmmm…not as strong a showing. I can’t speak for how well Wendy Whoppers is holding up (an aging porn star, according to my handy “celebrities who are 43” list), but I don’t hear a whole lot from Claudia Schiffer anymore.

Even so, I doubt anyone’s ever offered her a senior discount.

Now, you may have heard this story before. (All my friends pretty much have.) But hey, old people repeat themselves a lot. 

Back when I was a sprightly 42, I went treasure hunting at Goodwill. I’d hoped for a little pick-me-up, the kind that comes from unearthing a stain-free J. Crew rollneck sweater just your size.

Speaking of cheap thrills, how bout Barbie clothes?

Speaking of cheap thrills, nothing beats Barbie disco ensembles on your birthday. (Please please note my midriff-bearing top.)

But know this: nothing brings you crashing back down to earth like the check-out lady inquiring in all helpfulness, “Do you qualify for our senior discount?”

(Let me be clear. I was NOT buying girdles or Maeve Binchy novels at the time.)

All I could do was stare at the woman.  Mouth agape. Eyes squinty.

And I hung on for the laugh. Surely, there had to be a joke in there somewhere. Surely.

Instead, she offered this qualification: “Our discount applies to people 55 and over.” Oh, well then, that makes everything better.

I squinted harder. My mouth hung slack. And I waited for her to cast her eyes upon my dewy complexion and blush hotly at her mistake.

Not to be unkind, but perhaps there’s a reason this woman worked at Goodwill. Clearly she was not one for making wise life choices, because she had the gall to ask me again, kind of snotty this time:  “Well, do you?”

Being old and slow-witted, all I could muster was a haughty laugh and (perhaps a little too long and loud) an indignant, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

It’s a good thing for her that I’m a lover, not a fighter…and that I have very little upper body strength for strangling.

Because, man, that’ll set you back.

You’re walking around thinking, I’m young. With it. Quasi-hip. I may have two kids and a station wagon and spider veins, but I’m still pulling it off. Sort of.

I mean, I've got it going ONNNN.

I mean, I’ve got it going onnnnn.

Then you have that soul-crushing moment when you discover you’re not 25 anymore. And that nobody my age says “hip” much — unless they’re joking about breaking one.

The thing is, I don’t want to be 25. I am perfectly content here at 43 – right along with my friends, Sarah Silverman and Melissa McCarthy.

I’m just not quite ready to share that 55-year-old senior discount with Jamie Lee Curtis. Or her Activia, for that matter.

There’s plenty of time for all that.

Twelve years to be exact, not that I’m counting.